Sierra Club has called on Vectren to present the community with a plan to transition away from its aging and expensive coal-burning plants and to clean energy, even as Vectren announced that it must decide whether to invest at least $230 million into the plants or retire them by 2023. The $230 million is Vectren’s estimate of costs associated with an EPA rule meant to reduce toxic water pollution. Vectren made the announcement at its 20-Year Planning Meeting on Friday. "The decision here is clear. Either you are going to invest $230 million dollars into these plants, or you are going to plan to retire coal units by December of 2023,” Matt Skuya-Boss, Organizing Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal to Clean Energy Campaign, told Vectren executives during a presentation at the 20-Year-Planning Meeting. Vectren’s bills are already the highest in Indiana, and according to the United Way’s ALICE study, 47 percent of residents in Evansville are struggling to pay their bills. On Thursday, Citizens Action Coalition (CAC) and Earthjustice filed an appeal, for the second time, on behalf of CAC, Sierra Club, and Valley Watch, in a case in which Vectren seeks to charge its customers tens of millions for pollution controls needed to make the plants comply with other environmental requirements. If it decides to incur the $230 million to comply with the water toxics rule, Vectren will seek to pass those costs onto its customers as well. "Instead of continuing to spend customer money on its expensive, aging plants, Vectren should present the community with a plan to responsibly transition away from coal, invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy, create jobs and stabilize our electric bills,” said Wendy Bredhold, Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal to Clean Energy Campaign in the Ohio River Valley. “We call on Vectren CEO Carl Chapman to make the right decision for our community.” These area residents expressed their support for a clean energy transition plan at Friday’s rally: Evansville homeowner Jean Webb, who recently invested in rooftop solar, echoed a concern about costs. “Vectren needs to add renewables to their portfolio mix not only to improve our health and future, but to give us some price stability,” she said, pointing out that currently, a 25-year contract for utility-scale solar currently runs less than 4 cents per kilowatt hour. "With utility scale solar we could have twenty-five years with no price increase,” she said. “Let that sink in. No expensive pollution controls for the air or the water. No expensive legal filings for permits. No lobbying for looser EPA rules.” Tom Bogenschutz, with All Saints Catholic Church Ministry staff said, “By not including in their plan a significant transition to renewable energy, Vectren is failing in their part of it’s moral obligation. We call upon Vectren to put itself on a path now for a more sound future that will benefit all.” Mark Bryant, Valley Watch member and Posey County father of a child with asthma, said, “I’m here to say to Vectren now is the time to move away from a legacy of producing energy from burning toxic coal and start producing energy from clean renewable sources like wind and solar.” After the 20-Year Planning Meeting, Sierra Club presented Vectren CEO Carl Chapman with a petition from the community asking Vectren for a clean energy transition plan.